Skoglund P, Malmström H, Omrak A, Raghavan M, Valdiosera C, Günther T, Hall P, Tambets K, Parik J, Sjögren KG, Apel J, Willerslev E, Storå J, Götherström A, Jakobsson M
Science 344 (6185) 747-750 [2014-05-16; online 2014-04-24]
Prehistoric population structure associated with the transition to an agricultural lifestyle in Europe remains a contentious idea. Population-genomic data from 11 Scandinavian Stone Age human remains suggest that hunter-gatherers had lower genetic diversity than that of farmers. Despite their close geographical proximity, the genetic differentiation between the two Stone Age groups was greater than that observed among extant European populations. Additionally, the Scandinavian Neolithic farmers exhibited a greater degree of hunter-gatherer-related admixture than that of the Tyrolean Iceman, who also originated from a farming context. In contrast, Scandinavian hunter-gatherers displayed no significant evidence of introgression from farmers. Our findings suggest that Stone Age foraging groups were historically in low numbers, likely owing to oscillating living conditions or restricted carrying capacity, and that they were partially incorporated into expanding farming groups.